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Kerry says US climate goals in reach despite Trump Paris pullout

by Reuters
Monday, 12 June 2017 15:18 GMT

In this file photo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

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"The majority of the people in the United States are deeply committed to the Paris Agreement"

* Kerry says many U.S. cities, states to cut emissions

* Trump quit Paris pact, seeking to bolster jobs, coal

OSLO, June 12 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry predicted on Monday that the United States will achieve goals to limit climate change set by the Obama administration despite President Donald Trump's decision to quit a 2015 global pact.

Kerry, an architect of the Paris climate agreement, said during a visit to Oslo that many U.S. companies, states and cities were pushing ahead with restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions despite Trump's pro-coal policies.

"We will meet the Paris standards, I believe, in the United States," he told a news conference. "So I want people not to be dismayed." Trump's June 1 announcement angered many governments after almost two decades negotiating the 195-nation pact.

Trump has sometimes dismissed man-made climate change as a hoax even though a U.N. panel of leading scientists says it is at least 95 percent probable that man-made emissions were the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

Kerry noted that the formal withdrawal process from the Paris Agreement will last four years from the date it entered into force, on Nov. 4, 2016. Any new U.S. administration could rejoin within 30 days, Kerry said.

The Paris Agreement seeks to limit warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to avert effects including disruptions to food and water supplies from heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.

"The majority of the people in the United States are deeply committed to the Paris Agreement," Kerry said. Trump says the deal will cost U.S. jobs and harm the economy.

President Barack Obama's voluntary U.S. target under the Paris Agreement was to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, partly by restricting coal-fired power plants.

Trump's policies are likely to flatten U.S. emissions around current levels, about 11.5 percent below 2005 levels, according to a study last month by European researchers who compile a Climate Action Tracker.

(Reporting By Gwladys Fouche, writing by Alister Doyle; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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